Review Summary: Sparse arrangements and ghostly singing create a haunting eerie atmosphere that is easy to get lost in if you're in the right mood, otherwise it can be slightly boring.
Anyone who has seen the early 90’s TV series ‘Twin Peaks’ will know what to expect here. Set in a bleak, remote mountain town, the story followed the investigation of the murder of a popular girl. Everybody seemed perfectly ordinary, if a little quirky, on the outside but there were dark secrets lurking underneath the surface. The program was applauded for it’s eerie and surreal atmosphere.
The Julee Cruse song ‘Falling’ (without the singing) was used for the theme tune, and she sung at different points throughout the series. With just a few hypnotic notes, simple drumbeat and synth backing, ’Falling’ fitted the mysterious atmosphere perfectly. The rest of the album follows this same formula. Often, there is nothing but a synth or piano playing simple but very haunting melodies. When the drums enter, they are quiet and subdued, playing nothing but the simplest beats. Occasionally a saxophone is played, but it never stays for long and never threatens to overpower the music, instead giving the album a subtle jazzy edge.
‘Floating Into The Night’ is very consistent. While the songs may not appear to be particularly memorable and all sound quite similar to each other at first, it gets better every listen when you get used to the specific songs. Some of the melodies, especially the one on ‘Falling’ will stay with you long after the album finishes.
The production is perfect. The echoing synth, distant percussion and fluid dreamlike arrangements makes ‘Floating Into The Night’ sound like it was recorded in outer space. The title is actually extremely apt - listening to it really does give an impression of floating away into the darkness.
Julee Cruise’s singing on the album is fantastic. Her unearthly voice soars above the music, complimenting the sparse arrangements perfectly. Unlike other ‘ethereal’ singers like Dead Can Dance
’s Lisa Gerrard and The Cocteau Twins
’ Elizabeth Frazer who usually sing with a lot of vibrato, Julee Cruise’s powerful ghostly singing is always completely clear and smooth. Her light and airy voice contrasts brilliantly with the dark, melancholy music. While the lyrics are very simple, the themes of loss and longing that are explored fit the dark atmosphere well.
The only time it comes close to making a mistake is on ‘Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart’, which, while a great song by itself, is slightly too upbeat for the rest of the album. Although the song comes close to destroying the moody atmosphere, it is saved by keeping the same ethereal quality as the other songs, so doesn’t stand out as being different too much. ‘I Remember’ also stands out with it’s bizarre faster-paced beat that appears half way through, but it manages to retain the album’s creepy tone. Apart from these and a very sudden explosion of sound that comes out of nowhere on the title track, the album is much the same throughout.
The minimalism, while providing much of the album’s melancholy feel, can also hinder it slightly though. If you’re not in the right mood to listen to it, the lack of variety may soon get boring. Plan ahead to listen to it all the way through interrupted in the night time though, and you’ll find that it is extremely easy to get lost in it’s dreamy atmosphere. If you’re in the right mood for listening to it, it will never get at all boring, no matter how many times you repeat it.